The University of Kansas Libraries
Highlights from the Theodore Sturgeon Collection
Posted July 8, 2011
Noel Sturgeon (right), consults with Beth Whittaker
(left) and Elspeth Healey on materials donated by
the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust.
Highlights from the collection include:
- An “Inspiration File,” containing Sturgeon’s story ideas and story drafts and fragments. The file also includes notes on ideas developed through conversations with editors and fellow authors, such as Robert A. Heinlein and John W. Campbell.
- Typed manuscript of Sturgeon’s short story “Bianca’s Hands,” with typed emendations to the final two pages.
- Composite manuscript and page proofs for More Than Human (1953), with author’s and publisher’s emendations, including two letters between John Peck of Farrar, Straus & Young and Bernard Shirr-Cliff of Ballantine Books regarding the publishers’ concerns about plot points and edits.
- Photocopies of story notes and an eleven-page story outline for “Amok Time,” the second of two episodes that Theodore Sturgeon wrote for Star Trek. Sturgeon’s early typed notes, dated December 6, 1966, are titled “Spock Blows Top.” The ultimate episode title, “Amok Time,” is added by hand beneath.
- Multiple film script treatments of More Than Human, including a “Second Draft” by Sturgeon, dated August 28, 1968, and one credited to Sturgeon and his partner, Jayne Tannehill, c. 1981.
- A typed twenty-five-page manuscript of Argyll, dated “Sept 23” and composed partially on the letterhead of The Psychoanalytic Studies Institute. This is Theodore Sturgeon’s autobiographical memoir of his relationship with his stepfather.
- A ninety-three-page film script adaptation of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio by Theodore Sturgeon, circa 1983. Included is a personal note in which he cites the book as the source of his daughter’s name, Tandy.
- A letter to Theodore Sturgeon from his mother, Christine, dated December 8, 1945. This four-page letter analyzes the problems in their relationship. It was written in response to a letter Sturgeon had sent discussing his “poisonous and profound resentments.”
- A letter from Clifford D. Simak to Theodore Sturgeon, February 14, 1946. Fellow science fiction writer Simak critiques Sturgeon’s story “Maturity,” noting that the idea was “a honey” but that it fell apart. He writes, “And the ending. By God, Ted, you didn’t believe that yourself.”
- A letter from Ray Bradbury to Theodore Sturgeon, dated October 30, 1946. This letter appears to be Bradbury’s first communication with Sturgeon, who had written him a fan letter. Bradbury expresses his admiration in return, writing, “It means a very great deal to me, since I have looked upon you with such mixed emotions of admiration and professional jealousy for so many years […] I assure you I do not engage in log-rolling with authors.”
- A carbon copy of a letter from Theodore Sturgeon to L. Ron Hubbard, dated “June 25.” This letter offers comments on and encloses Sturgeon’s rewrite of an article Hubbard was submitting to Amazing Stories, “Dianetics: Supermen in 1950 AD.”
- A letter from Robert A. Heinlein to Theodore Sturgeon, dated February 11, 1955. In this five-page letter, Heinlein offers Sturgeon many story ideas, some of which Sturgeon subsequently used.
- A letter from Theodore Sturgeon to Robert A. Heinlein, dated September 3, . Sturgeon confesses, “I’ve been in another of my Things, not being able to write. The only thing I’ve learned of value is that not writing has nothing directly to do with Writing. It’s only a symptom of an across-the-board inability to do anything.”
- A carbon copy of a letter from Theodore Sturgeon to Mrs. Maxine Serrett Sanini (Rey Anthony), undated. Sturgeon’s letter is a letter of appreciation and gratitude for Anthony’s The Housewife’s Handbook on Selective Promiscuity, a volume which he says was integral to his writing of Venus Plus X (1960): “What the book would have been without your Handbook I can’t imagine. What I would have been without it I don’t know either—certainly not the persistent questioner I have become.”
- A letter from Kurt Vonnegut to Theodore Sturgeon, dated June 18, 1963. In this brief letter, Vonnegut discusses science fiction as a family. He writes: “As a person who is remarkably well-developed emotionally and intellectually, you must surely know that science fiction is an emotional category, and that the emotions are generally those associated with families.”
- Memo from Gene Roddenberry to Theodore Sturgeon, dated June 8, 1966. This memo contains the producer’s notes and comments on Act I of “Shore Leave,” the first of two scripts Sturgeon wrote for Star Trek. The two-page memo ends with the line, “You’re lovely, inventive, wonderful. Now be commercial.”
- A carbon copy letter from Theodore Sturgeon to Gene Roddenberry, dated October 20, 1966. Sturgeon complains about filming choices for his “Shore Leave” script, such as the decision to have the resurrected Dr. McCoy enter with “a gorgeous chick on each arm.” He carefully explains why this is a “first order vulgarism.”
- Six monthly report cards for Sturgeon from the Pennsylvania State Nautical Schoolship “Annapolis” (1936-1937). Sturgeon’s class standing ranges from 2 of 18 to 17 of 17.
- An Electrocardiographic Report on Sturgeon, age 25, dated November 5, 1943, with the following electrocardiographic diagnosis: “Suggestive of and compatible with mitral stenosis although there is no marked right ventricular preponderance. Myocardial scarrying [sic] is suggested.”
- Legal documents for Theodore Sturgeon, ranging from his adoption papers, in which his name was changed from Edward H. Waldo to Edward H. Sturgeon (1928), to his Seaman’s Certificate of Identification from the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (1938), to documents pertaining to his divorces from Dorothe Sturgeon and Mary M. Sturgeon, to a passport issued in 1958.
In addition, the collection includes numerous editions of books by Theodore Sturgeon, as well as volumes from his own personal library and volumes that he inscribed, and a print of the French film adaptation of Sturgeon’s “Bright Segment.”
The Kenneth Spencer Research Library: http://spencer.lib.ku.edu
The Sturgeon Award at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction: http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/sturgeon.htm
The official Theodore Sturgeon website: www.theodoresturgeontrust.com.